Beginning a new career can be overwhelming as an artist. There is so much competition! Sometimes your loved ones don't help you. You will often hear comments that are degrading. They will say there is no money in this field. After reading this post, you will learn practical steps even if you do not have money.
Do your research on what kind of artist you want to be. The art industry is very saturated with artists that do a variety of mediums. There are mainly two divisions: visual and fine art. Dabble in both divisions to stay flexible and employable. If a company wants you paint in acrylics, you'll be prepared. If they want you to finalize something in Photoshop, you'll be ready as well.
2. The next step is to study at an art school or university. Most artists try to go to the best art schools like SVA, Pratt Institute, and Rhode Island School of Design. However, these schools can be pricey. I chose to go to a private university because of the affordability. Consider what fits your budget before enrolling in either choice. Too many people are going into debt and struggling to pay it off. Once you graduate, you want a full-time job as a Junior Designer, Design Assistant. You can also try to get a paid internship that leads into a full-time job postgrad. I found that pitching for commissions while searching for jobs to be helpful. It comes in handy to always keep your options open in a struggling economy.
3. Launch an ecommerce business like Redbubble, TeeSpring, Spoonflower, or Society6. Create a social media page on Instagram and Behance. Before creating your IG profile, brainstorm a name that makes sense to what you are selling. Your name must be consistent in all profiles. If you're selling fan t-shirts, let people know you create fan art. Have keywords that attract other artists like yourself. Also, have a high-quality photo that lets customers know your brand. Please stay active online and post consistently every week. Networking online is the best start. Then later, branch out to local events.
4. Always educate yourself. Even after college, you have to keep learning. One of things I miss about undergrad is having a professor to critique my work. I had to learn after I graduated, that I had to rely on myself to do the work. No one is going to hand you a free sample. The good thing about the internet is that there are lots of resources. You can watch free classes on YouTube or pay for courses. Use Alison or Skillshare for art courses. Sometimes Linkedin Learning offers one free month for premium classes. You should set up some time to learn new skills on the weekend. All you need is one hour to learn more.
5. Join an art association like AIGA or the Society of Illustrators. You can network with other artists and visit events. More importantly, you'll learn more information about your industry. I am an Illustrator-S member at SOI. They have a lot of sketch night events every month. Be advised that some associations are invite-only. So, you'll have to a portfolio that suits their recommendations. Also, be prepared to spend money per event.
6. Please do not compare yourself to others' success. There are artists in different stages of their career. Some have two degrees at 30 years old, others are self-made with none. Understand that you're at your own journey. Learn to mind your own business and take care of yourself. Focus on your own art goals. Self-love will give you the confidence to be successful.
Stay positive, be persistent and draw every day. Do your research, network with people, and post on social media. You are bound to make it happen!
Do you have any advice about the art industry? Share your story below.